The vision of Living Water Community Church is to . . .
Recognize Everyone And Communicate Hope or REACH
Some of the Many Ways Living Water Carries out the REACH Vision
REACHing in Haiti
- We began doing annual training trips in Haiti in 2016.
- In Februaray, 2016, a team of Elders from Living Water traveled to Haiti to help one of our missionaries provide Bible training to local pastors. The week was spend teaching the fundamental doctrines of Christianity. In total, 55 local pastors received training certificates.
- Our second trip is scheduled for early March of 2017, where we will be helping teach a survey course on the Poetry and Prophecy books of the Old Testament .
REACHing Youth Ministries
- Youth are encouraged to grow in their leadership abilities and Living Water sends a team of youth each summer on a World Changers mission trip. LivingWaterCommunityChurch has sent a total of 56 youth and leaders in the last four years. The cities where they have served include Muncie, IN, Charleston, WV, Chattanooga, TN, East St. Louis, IL, and Chicago, IL This summer the World Changers team will serve in Cleveland, OH.
- The teams of youth and their adult sponsors went on “prayer walks” during their World Changes lunch breaks and last summer they prayed with over 100 people and explained the reason they were helping change the world by serving others.
- Our youth and adult sponsors raise their own support and are only partially funded from our church’s missions budget. The funds the kids raise not only pay for the trip and lodging (sleeping on a gym floor or in school classrooms) but also covers the cost of materials used to fix up lower income neighborhood houses.
- Living Water REACHes to the “uttermost parts of the earth” by partially supporting four missionaries in four different “corners” of the world. We were able to help with a significant contribution allowing one of our missionary families to get back on the field when they were facing major set-backs financially due to inflationary pressures.
- One of our missionaries successfully carries the gospel into hard to reach areas of the world through strategic partnerships in the GAP Ministry (Global Access Partnerships).
- Our Senior Pastor, Clark Cothern, taught a seminary course on ministry leadership at the Baptist Seminary in Gweru, Zimbabwe, Africa.
- A team from our Christian Challenge college students served in a summer missions project in central Asia, reaching a people group not normally exposed to the gospel.
- In 2005, we sent a team of volunteers to Mexico where they handed out food vouchers to people in a struggling area, distributed food boxes, constructed a water purification system for a village and ministered to children in a VBS-style ministry. One of our congregation members was moved by the team’s efforts and she gave her life to Jesus and was baptized in the Pacific Ocean during that mission trip where she was volunteering her talents as a nurse.
- In 2006, our Associate Pastor Mike Burrell, helped train AWANA leaders in India. He went expecting to train a handful of pastors and leaders. By the time he and a team member arrived the numbers had grown exponentially. He helped train 45 leaders, preached to over 5,000 people and saw over 500 make decisions to follow Jesus Christ. 300 churches began AWANA clubs which teach children Scripture memory verses through activities that are age appropriate. Since that original visit, over 2,000 clubs have been started in and around Rajahmundry, India, reaching an estimated 600,000 children with the good news of Jesus.
- In 2007, one of our Small Group ministry members, Mary Lange, participated in a mission trip to Zambia, Africa, teaching local villagers how to grow sustainable and reproducible crops for healthy food. Other team members shared the gospel.
- In 2008, we reached to a subculture in our community by hosting a “Biker Sunday.” We served 200 that day and one individual gave her heart to Jesus after a message was given during that event.
- In 2009, one of our students donated a month of her time assisting in a school for special needs children in Zambia, Africa.
- In 2010, we raised money to buy cancer medications for the children’s oncology department at the only hospital in Zimbabwe. We partnered with a church in Harare that has taken on that department as a ministry. Previous to that church’s work in the hospital, children with cancer were being treated with aspirin strength pain relievers.
- In 2011, we collected and gave over 300 pairs of shoes for “Soles 4 Souls”, a ministry that takes shoes to desperately needed people in other countries.
- We participate in Operation Christmas Child each year, involving the congregation in collecting items to send to children around the world, reaching them with the gospel in partnership with Franklin Graham’s ministry, “Samaritan’s Purse.” In 2008, we didn’t set a goal and the congregation gave over 30 shoe boxes. In 2009, we set a goal of 50 and they gave over 60. In 2010, we set a goal of 75 shoeboxes and they gave 85. In 2011, our goal was 100 and 80 were given.
- Our congregation contributed a significant monetary gift to help a pastor from Africa come to Michigan to have surgery. Two congregations and a local hospital all contributed resources to get Pastor Ifeanyi back on his feet and ministering in a strong ministry in Zambia.
- One of our own Living Water members, Nick Gubbini, went full-time two years ago as a Student Minister, reaching onto the campuses of the University of Michigan, EasternMichiganUniversity and WashtenawCommunity College. Nick also leads our student and young professionals Bible study class. Living Water helps support Christian Challenge financially through its missions giving. Each year Christian Challenge helps train young Christian leaders to become better prepared for mission endeavors in other cultures. Some of the Christian Challenge leadership trains students in a sort of “Missions Boot Camp” called FOCUS in Topeka, Kansas where different situations are simulated so the students can practice how they would respond, including dangerous situations caused by prejudicial treatment against Christians.
- Dan and Michelle Schunck, formerly peer leaders in Christian Challenge are now young professionals. They recently completed an internship in a program that equipped them to begin community home-based groups designed to reach Muslims with the good news. Dan serves on our Ministry Coordinating Team.
- We partner with the Hope Clinic in Ypsilanti, through various ministry opportunities throughout the year, including an “adopt-a-family” Christmas emphasis each November and December. Last year, we adopted four needy families. We also collect personal hygiene items monthly to donate to Hope. Pastor Mike Burrell serves at Hope as a prayer minister each week.
- We have partnered with the WhittakerFreeWillBaptistChurch in sponsoring a course designed to help people manage their money more effectively. The program, called “FinancialPeaceUniversity” used Dave Ramsey’s materials and was taught by Tam Williamson of the Whittaker congregation. Living Water supplied a video projector for use in that program.
- We offered a Fall Harvest Festival Outreach Event in 2002, 2003 and 2004, providing a local outreach to families with young children in our area.
- We served our local school teachers by parking cars for 2 years during the LincolnHigh School fundraiser fair. This money helped sponsor grants for teachers doing exceptional work in their fields.
- We serve the teachers in the building where we currently rent by donating school supplies and money to the SouthArborAcademy to help meet practical needs of teachers and students for the classrooms: tissues, hand sanitizer, toys, etc. We also made a contribution of $1,200 to the South Arbor Booster Club in 2010 when it was discovered that they were experiencing a sizeable shortfall financially.
- Backyard Bible Clubs in 2008: A local outreach to four different neighborhoods in our community, in cooperation with a mission team from Lamar, Missouri.
- VacationBibleSchool in 2009: We partnered with the Whittaker congregation to hold a VacationBibleSchool.
- VacationBibleSchool in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013: We partnered with the EvangelicalFriendsChurch to hold a VacationBibleSchool. We will partner with the EvangelicalFriendsChurch again this summer (2014) for VBS.
- We take a benevolence offering once each month. That money is used to help people in our congregation (and a few outside the congregation) with serious financial needs including utility bills, car repairs and the costs of medicine for some who haven’t been able to afford it.
- AWANA. We recently began a new AWANA Club on Sunday mornings for children in Kindergarten through grade 6. We have 30 children enrolled in the new program. In 2013 we added a Cubbies program for preschool aged kids.
- As a seasonal outreach we offer a children’s musical every December. That event becomes one of our highest attended events of the year.
- We jointly host a Winter Bible study each year with a partner church, bringing in seminary professors to teach a particular topic or book of the Bible.
- We offer small group Bible studies in homes and twice we have offered The Truth Project, with a total of eight home groups being involved in this Christian Worldview study.
Developing Young Leaders with a REACHing mindset
- Jesse Pipe and Chris Taylor, both former Media and Technology Team members, have graduated from Christian Universities, Chris at Wheaton and Jesse at Cornerstone. The are both married and continuing to REACH in their spheres of influence.
- Brianna Jackson, an active youth group peer leader and World Changers mission trip veteran, recently graduated from the University of Michigan.
- Callie Cothern, a praise team member since she was in high school, has obtained a music degree at SpringArborUniversity. She has taught a children’s Growth Encounter at Living Water and has continued to sing in the praise team. Callie is currently scouting her next steps in music, perhaps in California.
- Clark Cothern III, also a praise team member, graduated from SpringArborUniversity with a degree in music. He served for a year as Worship Arts Intern. He was married in 2013 and currently serves a church in California as Minister of Youth and as a volunteer member of their praise team.
- Mike Burrell came up “through the ranks” of lay leadership at Living Water, took an early retirement from General Motors and was hired part-time as our Associate Pastor. He continues to develop in his leadership abilities and leads our AWANA ministry and the Youth leadership team.
- We have intentionally recruited and trained younger leaders for our ministry teams, including the Ministry Coordinating Team, which serves the entire congregation by handling ongoing ministry planning issues from month to month. We are taking steps to ensure a succession of leadership in the years to come, building the REACH vision into young leaders and allowing them to excel through the use of their spiritual gifts and God-given abilities.
- Men have been involved in the all-church REACH Week events and in our set up and tear down teams each Sunday.
- The men’s ministry has also included entry points for men in our community through “Burn Bashes” (bonfires) each Fall, prayer breakfasts, and a church-sponsored Super Bowl event.
- Men serve others each year by donating their skills to fix up cars and do home maintenance projects for widows and senior citizens.
- Women have several entry points into the congregation, including community Bible Studies, regular fellowship gatherings, seasonal events like a car rally or “walking rally” in downtown Ann Arbor, and seasonal retreats.
- Women in our congregation provide meals to expecting mothers during the difficult months of their pregnancies and after delivery, and to people who are recovering from surgeries.
REACH for LIFE Team (LIFE stands for Local, Inreach, Foreign, and Evangelism)
- This ministry team looks for ways to involve our congregation in REACH events both locally and abroad.
- A greeter ministry serves under the umbrella of the REACH for LIFE team. Our strong team of greeters has helped Living Water become known as a friendly, welcoming congregation.
- Our REACH (Recognize Everyone And Communicate Hope) vision is caught from the moment someone steps onto the property where we meet. Newcomers get to feel cared for as the team immediately determines if someone is new. They are welcomed warmly (but not accosted) and are connected with others so that a newcomer meets several people by first name.
- A new “12 Fishermen” ministry team addresses inreach issues and targets those who begin to wander away. Each person on the team is responsible for noticing if anyone on his/her list of people to care for are missing on any given week. They will make compassionate contacts with those who aren’t there, seeing if we can help them if there is a need.
- The REACH for LIFE team will help organize projects like our summer REACH Week and ongoing partner projects with our foreign missionaries.